YMMV / Night Shift

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Just what is "The Boogeyman," exactly, and why does it apparently target Lester Billings and his family? Some readers have speculated that the boogeyman is in actuality a boogeywoman; the ghost of Lester's mother (or possibly her rotting corpse), seeking to destroy Lester Billings and his family just because she hates them.
  • And I Must Scream: Possibly, for the alien coexisting in the astronaut's body. It's never clear if the alien took control deliberately, or was inadvertently trapped there.
  • Genre Adultery: "The Last Rung on the Ladder", a melancholic story with no supernatural or horror elements.
    • "The Ledge" is a straightforward crime-and-revenge story that also lacks any supernatural content.
    • "The Woman in the Room" is much like "The Last Rung on the Ladder" in that it's more a tragedy than a horror story. It's painfully realistic, being about a man agonizing over the decision to euthanize his elderly, terminally ill mother.
    • "The Lawnmower Man" has an unusually comedic style for a Stephen King story (though the protagonist still gets slaughtered by an autonomous lawnmower).
  • Jerk Ass: Lester Billings, the protagonist of "The Boogeyman", is this in spades. He cares very little for his wife, constantly slut shaming her like his mother did and criticizing her for mourning their dead children because "when they're little, you don't get so attached to them." Even his children are no exception as he treats his first son like a sissy when he's scared of the dark (he was THREE). Nothing in his dialogue suggests any sort of warmth for his family except for his second son, the only one who looked like him, despite insisting that he loved his family. But then he also sold out his "favorite" child to the Boogeyman to save his own skin. When his wife knows the truth and finally divorces him, it's hard to even try feeling sorry for him.
  • Nausea Fuel: In "Gray Matter", we have the charming tale of a man who is transformed into a fungoid blob caused by a bit of gray slimy guck infesting one of his nightly cans of beer. Later, we hear his son's story of seeing what's become of his father eating the bloated, putrefying, maggot-ridden corpse of a cat.
    • In "The Lawnmower Man", the title character's self-driving machine runs over a mole (an analogue of an earlier scene where the same thing happens to a cat, albeit with a different mower). The man, following close behind, eats the body of the mole just as he has been eating the expelled grass clippings.
    • "The Mangler" — imagining a person crushed and folded by an industrial laundry's steam ironer (and having their remains taken out in a basket) is enough to make someone ill.
    • The blind, wriggling little babies suckling a giant mama rat, also blind and legless, in the basement of the mill in "Graveyard Shift."
  • Squick: Several of the stories, but especially "The Lawnmower Man". Much of "Gray Matter" is pretty squicky, too, but particularly the maggot-infested dead cat Richie pulls out of the wall and eats.
  • Tear Jerker: "The Last Rung on the Ladder", and "The Woman in the Room".
  • The Woobie : Quite a few, but special mention to Richie's son, Timmy in "Gray Matter." He lives alone with his father who's slowly turning into a Blob Monster. After a while, Richie cannot bear any light and only consumes beer that he demands to be heated.
    Can you feature that? The kid all by himself in that apartment with his dad turning into, well, into something... an' heating his beer and then having to listen to him - it - drinking it with awful thick slurping sounds, the way an old man eats his chowder: can you imagine it?